4.2 Administration and governance
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Social Inclusion is a cross-sectorial topic and thus governed by several institutions according to their competences. Most competencies are on the level of local and regional Authorities. The State is mostly for steering and offering its own capacities and resources for the implementation of state policies.
Regions and Municipalities can apply their own social inclusion strategies. On a national level, the Ministry for Regional Development is directly responsible and runs the Agency for Social Inclusion. The Agency is a tool to assist municipalities at a local level in their social inclusion activities and policies. Cooperation between municipality and Agency is on the basis of a voluntary contract.
In national policies, ministries propose a political document and subsequent legal adjustments. When approved by the Government, the proposal starts being implemented within the sectoral policy.
Implementation is influenced by several circumstances like grant agencies, cross-sectoral cooperation among institutions and on a vertical level with local and Regional Authorities.
The Youth is often explicitly mentioned as a vulnerable group, however, it is also often only implicitly included as a target group (general population, socially excluded area, child care system, etc.).
Within the field of Social Inclusion we can differentiate between three types of actors:
- Founded by the Government in order to deal with social inclusion (and subsequently with the inclusion of excluded young people)
- Sectional bodies, dealing with inclusion within their own strategic and conceptual documents (for more details please see Chapter 4.3)
- Youth Policy actors (see Chapter 1.4)
Youth Policy bodies dealing with Social Inclusion
There are no specific central state authority units dealing with youth inclusion specifically within the youth work or the youth field. Main central state authorities are The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
Government Council for Human Rights
The Council was founded by the Government and is composed of representation of Ministries and local and regional authorities as well as invited private actors as Foundations, Czech Branches of International Organizations such as UNICEF and relevant NGOs. Its main task is to oversee abiding the Constitution and Charter of fundamental rights and freedoms. It also supervises human rights protection obligations derived from international treaties:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- European Convention on Human Rights
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- United Nations Convention against Torture
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The Council creates subcommittees (political and civil rights; economic, social and cultural rights, against torture or inhuman treatment, children's rights, rights of foreigners, human rights and biomedicine, sexual orientation, minorities, anti-discrimination)
- Committee for sexual minorities engages especially in legal aspects
- Committee for children rights is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the international Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Regularly publishes a report about the human rights status in the Czech Republic and the fulfilment of obligations from international treaties
Inter-ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs
Founded by the Government in 1997 with the aim of coordinating Czech international strategy regarding Roma (international strategy because of international influence on creation). Further, the Commission participates on activities by EU Roma Network, OBSE, Council of Europe and Visegrad 4.
Recently it has been supervising the implementation of 'Strategy of Roma integration 2020' and has also announced and supervised subsequent grant programmes.
It has created special committees:
- Committee for the Decade of Roma inclusion
- Implements action plan of the international initiative 'Decade of Roma inclusion 2005-2015'
- 2 out of 5 national priorities regarded youth (Inclusive education and Life situations and children's rights)
- Czech action plan also contains problematic issues of Roma youth identified in Chapter 4.1; young Roma inclusion, education, housing, employment and health
- It cooperates with local administrations regarding implementation of adopted measures
- Monitoring committee
- Mediates contact between the Commission and state organisation dealing with socially excluded regions
Government Council for equality of men and women
Youth is not explicitly mentioned as a target group, however the Council proposed changes within document Men and Women Equality Data collection optimisation Report and thus data on young people's gender issues are monitored and are the responsibility of the Council.
It initiates its own and supports external research regarding gender equality and administrates its own grant programme on equality matters.
Under the Council operate 7 subject committees and working groups such as the Committee for private and family life harmonisation or the Committee for domestic violence and violence against women, Working Group on obstetrics.
Government Council for National Minorities
This is an inter-departmental body with cross-sectorial competencies.
Members of the council are minority representatives (specifically Byelorussian, Croatian, Hungarian, German, Polish, Roma, Rusins, Russian, Greek, Slovak, Serbian, Ukrainian and Vietnamese).
It provides publication activities, e.g. an annual report about minorities' situation in the Czech Republic.
It has two sub-committees for Subsidy and for Local municipalities cooperation.
Government Board for People with Disabilities
This is a permanent coordination and initiative council body of the Czech Government for the field of disabled citizens. It was established in 1991.
It concentrates on deepening International cooperation of handicapped people's integration into society.
The current policy document is the National Plan for the Support of Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2015-2020 which is based on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and mentions youth as a target group and requires annual reports on the implementation.
The Board also administrates initiatives in the National Development Programme: Mobility for Everyone, Life Without Barriers and the subsidy programme Support of Disabled Persons Associations’ Useful Activities.
Social Inclusion Agency (SIA)
SIA has been operating since 2008. It creates a bridge between central and local administration and is responsible for information transfer, assistance to local subjects with social inclusion, and surveying the situation on local levels and passing on the information. Its fields of action are where social integration is necessary: housing, unemployment, education, social services, security, family, and socio-legal protection of children as stated in the Social Integration Strategy 2030. The Agency operates as a department of the Ministry for Regional Development.
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MEYS)
In 2016 MEYS introduced new School legislation amendments creating better conditions for social inclusion in Education, so called Common education (společné vzdělávání) which introduced support tools and measures for the inclusion of pupils with specific educational needs across the country. For details see Chapter 6.6.
Important political strategies are implemented by the MEYS within the field of education and inclusion in education:
- Education Strategy 2030+
- One of the main goals is to lower and balancing the inequalities in education, as Czech Republci is a country with one of the highest inequalities within OECD and EU.
- Long-term Education and Education System Development Intention 2015-2020
- Strategic goal G: 'equal opportunities in education, consulting, children and students with special needs education'
- Digital Education Strategy 2020
- Ensures non-discriminatory access to digital educational resources (adequately reacts to the digital gap phenomenon – please see Chapter 4.1)
- Deals only with electronic sources, not digital technologies in general.
Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MLSA)
In the field of social inclusion, the Ministry implements the Social Integration Strategy 2021-2030. Implementation and monitoring is supervised by the Social Integration Commission.
The Ministry is responsible for related areas of inclusion of young people: housing, childcare, children's rights protection, employment, and the social security system including social benefits.
Social housing became an issue after the economic crisis and thus the Social Housing Concept 2015-2025 was introduced. Youth is one specific target group with special attention given to young people up to 26 years of age, and those leaving institutional care, and the strategy also recognises the problem of housing issues for young LGBT people.
In order to more flexibly facilitate the inclusion of mothers after maternity leave into the labour market, the so called Children Groups were brought into force in 2014 by the Act no. 247/2014 Coll. The Ministry serves as information and administrative support in this initiative.
The Ministry also implements two main national strategies in the protection of Children's Rights: National child abuse prevention strategy 2008-2018 and the National children's rights protection strategy accompanied by Action plan for the fulfilment of the national strategy to protect children’s rights 2012 – 2015, National child abuse prevention strategy for the period 2009-2010 and STOP child abuse. The goal was to create a functional children's rights protection and rights fulfilment system, following a broader endangered childcare system reform (abroad, this complements insufficient pre-school education).
Housing Development State Fund
The Fund is within the Ministry of Regional Development's competence. It manages concessionary loans for housing young people up to 36 years of age. Former programmes were not funded and were thus de facto not in existence until the new generation of EU Funds came and was used to support the new generation of programmes.There is also loan program for the construction of rental flats and houses or for the reconstruction of buildings for a defined group of inhabitants (seniors 65+, health or income-defined persons), minors under 30 years of age and persons whose dwellings were destroyed by a natural disaster.
Loans are offered under favourable conditions like low interest, free early payoff, free consultation services etc. The allocated budget for year 2016 is 100 million CZK (3.7 million EUR).
The Fund is participating in the implementation of Housing Concept 2020, where young people are specifically stated as a target group. Young people and young families are considered up to 36 years of age.